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Strangers at the Port

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399608169

Price: £16.99

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A TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023

‘This novel amazed me. It is the work of a true original’ LUCIE ELVEN
‘I loved Strangers at the Port. It is deliciously spare, yet complex – a story of the past as well as a vision of the future’ SARA BAUME

Giulia is ten. She lives on the greenest island in a volcanic archipelago. She has never left.

Her best friend, beside her older sister, Giovanna, is a donkey. She ties ribbons around his head and thinks she will marry him when the time comes.

The sisters’ days on the island are shaped by ritual, community, superstition and isolation.

It is a place that feels stuck in time: verdant, plentiful, peaceful.

Until the men arrive.

And a foreign yacht anchors at the port.

And the vines begin to fail.

And everything changes.

From the author of Dolores, Strangers at the Port is an exquisite, enchanted, atmospheric novel about myth and memory, suspicion and dislocation, emigrants and explorers.

‘Lauren Aimee Curtis brings her alchemical knack to a remote island setting, recounting a story through three vantage points. Giulia and Giovanna’s acidic, beguiling accounts of their island’s rituals and lore contrast with a third teller whose logbooks fragment into feverish autobiography. Curtis’s radiant novel explores the ineffable dimensions of a place, of the past, of a person, which is precisely what I come to literature for’ MIREILLE JUCHAU

Reviews

Stubbornly enigmatic
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Books of the Year
Curtis - who was included on Granta's recent Best of Young British Novelists list - writes dazzlingly confident prose, too rich to be called spare yet without any superfluous weight. She writes the island as if she were Celine Sciamma shooting Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Francesca Peacock, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Curtis's writing is beautiful
GOOD READING
A mesmeric and lyrical novel about a fictive island and its inhabitants, which eschews narrative convention in favour of something more elusive, fractured, and choral . . . truly original
Ralf Webb, GRANTA, Books of the Year
Magnificent
Cal Revely-Calder, TELEGRAPH REVIEW, Books of the Year
Lushly poetic
Lucy Thynne, LITERARY REVIEW
An incredible novel about how the quiet, ritualistic lives of a pair sisters are shaken by the arrival of strangers on their island
Anna Bonet, THE I PAPER
Strangers at the Port is both a fascinating delve into the small, personal stories sacrificed to the grander sweep of history and a provocative creation of a fable for our times
Emily Rhodes, THE SPECTATOR
Reading this wonderfully oblique historical tale is a little like looking at the way light refracts through a prism: its meanings and impressions disperse along its journey to reveal what the author herself has termed 'the slippery overlap between history, fiction and memory' . . . Fascinating
Catherine Jarvie, MARIE CLAIRE, Best Books of 2023